Since we hadn’t booked a hostel in advance, we had to settle for what was available when we got there. The nice people at the tourist counter managed to arrange us a room at a traditional hostel called Ryokan Chitoseya (also called Chitose Youth Hostel).
Chitoseya isn’t located too far from the station – it takes about 20 minutes by walking to get there. Currently a single room costs 5,460 yen and a twin room 4,935 yen. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind sharing a room with strangers, they also offer a dormitory option. A traditional Japanese breakfast costs an extra 1,000. When we stayed there, the three of us got one single room and one twin room and the shared cost was 3850/person, not including breakfast. If you haven’t had a Japanese style breakfast before and/or if you plan to do a lot of walking, it the breakfast is definitely worth the price because it will take you a long way. The breakfast included cooked rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, egg, salad, a potato croquette, spinach, and green tea among other things.
Like most Ryokan, the rooms at Chitose are traditional Japanese rooms with tatami mats, so you’ll be sleeping on the floor. The only furniture in rooms is a table and a TV and the rooms don’t have en suite bathrooms, so you have to use the toilet in the hallway. When we stayed there, you could take a bath at certain times in the morning and evening, but according to the FAQ on their website you can now bathe anytime you want. The hotel does not have a wi-fi, but there is a (old) coin-operated computer for browsing in the lobby. The hostel also has coin-operated washing machines. One thing worth mentioning is that the owners were very friendly and helpful and seemed genuinely interested in us.
Although Chitoseya is very affordable, it’s probably not the cheapest option, especially if you’re traveling alone. Sendai has a lot of Western-style hotels that offer cheaper rooms with better facilities in rooms, but if you want to stay in a more traditional hostel and experience Japanese hospitality, it’s definitely worth a visit.